How to paint a Strawberry, flemish technique.

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I seem to be into the color red, I guess its because with the changing of the seasons, and Christmas being just around the corner, I have a feeling for RED!

Here are a few process shots and a film on the piece.  All you need is a bowl, some cream and sugar.  And yes, you'll need some real strawberries cause these are meant for the wall.  

Not sure what it is about strawberries that make them so beautiful to view.  Whether it's a hungry stomach, or the memories of enjoying them on a warm summer night with cream and sugar on the back porch watching the lightening bugs begin to twinkle under the big maple trees.  

Below is a short video of the process shots for one of these strawberries.  The rest of the explanations are below that. 

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How to paint a strawberry!

I decided to take a few photo's of how to paint a strawberry.  Even though it appears to be a very complex subject, (all those seeds and the reflections around each one) the flemish technique allows for a step by step approach.  Working with red, a very transparent color, it is critical to get the underpaintings tone correctly.  Here you can see the umber and gray layers are completed.  Some of the umber underpainting is showing thru in places.  Click an image to get a larger view.

A deep red in blocked in and then a few shadows are added.  This paint was applied quite thickly to get the brightest red I could make.

After blending the shadows, I came back in with the orange to depict the seeds.  I also have added a few highlights.  This stage is a color layer and I am working wet into wet.  Using a small #2 round to do most of the blending.  Remember, this painting is only 8" x 8" in size so these strawberries are just a little larger than life sized.

Below you see the blending around each seed is complete, and I've gone ahead and added some green leaves to its top.  I'm close to completion on this strawberry, but a final glaze to drop the intensity of the seeds that are in shadow will be needed.

This stage, I've completed all my strawberries, but it still needs a bit of glazing work in the shadows and I'll bump up the highlights again.  The final painting at the top shows the shadow work completed and the highlights intensified.  I also went back in with another glaze of red in the midtones to brighten them a bit more too.

I hope you've enjoyed this little demonstration and hope it will inspire you to tackle these little jewels.  One of the things I love about this technique is the simplification of a very complex item that can be rendered quickly and easily.  Taking most of the guess work out, you can systematically paint any complex subject matter and get a very realistic result.  

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